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How to Separate Orchid Plants


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Orchids, or Orchidaceae, are the largest family of flowering plants. Orchids are perennials–they bloom for multiple seasons–with fleshy, tuberous roots and long, narrow, undivided leaves. Orchid plants can be divided into multiple plants when they are being repotted at the time new growth is starting to emerge from a mature plant. There are many different types of orchids, but the general process of separating them during repotting is the same.

Difficulty:
Moderately Easy

Instructions

things you’ll need:
  • Orchid
  • Sharp knife
  • Orchid potting mix
  • Clay pots
    1. Select an orchid with five or more pseudobulbs for separating. The pseudobulb is the thickened, solid, bulb-like part of the orchid that stores food and water. Determine that the orchid has finished blooming for the season. Check for new growth emerging from the eye at the base of the pseudobulb; the best time to separate an orchid into multiple plants is during repotting when new growth begins to appear.
    2. Gently remove the orchid from the pot. Disturbing the root system as little as possible, shake and rinse the soil from the roots. Ideally, plan your separations to keep three pseudobulbs and one new growth per cut. Cut between the bulbs with a sterilized knife, keeping the roots intact. The pseudobulbs are connected to each other by rhizomes, or runners; cut these to sever the ties between the separated sections. Remove any dry and dead roots or pseudobulbs that are soft and brown.
    3. Repot the separated orchids in fresh orchid potting mix.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are separating a large orchid, you will produce healthier sections by preserving the original plant and slicing off small divisions of at least three pseudobulbs.

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